Business News of Friday, 20 January 2017
Oil production on the Jubilee Field will be shut down for 15 days, starting February 3, 2017, to allow for an interconnection with the Tweneboa, Enyera and Ntomme (TEN) operations.
The planned shutdown will lead to immediate curtailment of production and export of natural gas from the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah to the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant and subsequently stop the supply of lean gas from the plant to the power generating enclave at Aboadze.
However, the power generating companies have expressed readiness to switch to crude oil to ensure uninterrupted generation.
The Jubilee Partners consider the current shutdown as strategic in ensuring that the TEN fields could supply enough gas to power the country’s thermal plants when the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah is shut down finally for 12 weeks to correct its defective turret bearing.
Sources close to the TEN?fields partners said the tie-in had become critical at this time because the field was fast-tracked into operation in August 2016 with gas production, instead of the scheduled February 2017 for first gas.
They indicated that the strategic shutdown would enable work on the interconnection between the TEN and the Jubilee fields for gas exportation from the FPSO Atta Mills through the 58-km offshore Ghana Gas pipeline to the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant.
They said after the 15-day shutdown, the FPSO Atta Mills would be in a position to export a little more than 45 million standard cubic feet (mscf) of gas, enough to fire AMERI, while the TICO and the VRA units which were designed to use both gas and light crude could switch.
Currently, Ghana Gas is supplying a minimum of about 50mscf of gas to the Aboadze power enclave to fire AMERI.
The Corporate Communications Manager of Ghana Gas, Mr Alfred Ogbamey, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, expressed the hope that ‘dumsor’ would be avoided, saying inter-communication between the power institutions would allow all stakeholders to plan ahead to sustain delivery.
He said Ghana Gas was informed about the shutdown by the lead operator, Tullow, months ago, “as a result of which the company informed its stakeholders and industry partners accordingly to plan for the tie-in period”.
Mr Ogbamey said all stakeholders and partners along the gas production value chain had been informed and prepped up for the exercise.
“We anticipate that other stakeholders and the VRA, which has long been aware of this and captured it in its 2017 gas forecast, have put in place adequate measures to avert the consequential effect of the TEN interconnection,” he stated.
He added that the shutdown was “essential to create a corridor from the TEN fields to evacuate and bring additional natural gas on stream to generate power. It will also enable the TEN fields to be linked to the Jubilee Fields and the Ghana Gas Offshore Pipeline,” he said.
The snag ahead
Mr Ogbamey, however, admitted that the nation could face some challenges within the period.
“There is a snag, as the VRA is presently unable to offtake its nominated volumes,” he said.
He explained that Tullow Oil and Ghana Gas were ready to scale up their supply from the current volumes to over 90mscf of gas a day, but some units were out for maintenance.
“This has reduced the VRA’s lean gas off-take since the beginning of the year,” he said.
Mr Ogbamey said although Tullow had indicated that the exercise would take 15 days, Ghana Gas had projected 18 days for the exercise to allow for exigencies, should they arise.
Ghana Gas, he said, would take advantage of the curtailment in gas supply to also interconnect its installed second de-ethenizer overhead compressor at Atuabo.
“That will ensure that Atuabo will operate continuously without the need for the 4,000-hour scheduled maintenance disruption. When one compressor has to be serviced after 4,000 hours of operation, we would now be able to switch onto the other and carry out works without halting production,” he explained.
The country’s power units at Aboadze have been relying on Atuabo for the supply of lean gas to generate electricity from its thermal plants since November 2014.